CADDYING is well and truly on the back burner now for Ballina's fast-rising Daniel Martin.
The 13-year-old only started playing golf about 19 months ago but is making a notable impact on the Northern Rivers junior golf circuit.
Daniel, who already has a hole-in-one to his name, took up the sport after caddying for dad and keen players Niall and pop Geoffrey McInerney.
He decided to have a go on the tee himself one day - and stunned his co-players with the length of his driving.
"I hit it further than them both together," he said with a smile. "They couldn't believe it.
"They were like, 'you shouldn't be caddying - you should be playing'."
Daniel, who attends Xavier Catholic College in Skennars Head, has already got his handicap down to 18.
The year seven student can be found regularly honing his game at Ballina Golf Club.
"I really like it here," he said. "The people are really friendly."
He also plays at Teven Golf Club, where he recently achieved a hole-in-one on the 218m first hole.
"I think it hit a tree and went straight into the hole," he said.
"I was looking for the ball for ages and then my dad found it in the hole.
"I was speechless."
The right-hander is also making an impression on the Northern Rivers Junior Golf Order of Merit.
Top young golfers from across the region play the circuit, which features tournaments throughout the year at the region's courses.
Daniel currently leads the boys nett section heading into the circuit' forthcomings final tournament of the season at Byron Bay.
It is more the social, rather than the competitive side of the game, that Daniel prefers.
"I like how you can talk to people as you go round," he said. "You can get to know them better.
"Golf can be frustrating but I like the challenge of it as well.
"I really want to improve my accuracy. I want to work on my driving as well.
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